Thursday, December 31, 2009

New year predictions

A lot of bloggers go in for New Year predictions, the few times I've tried it, my success rate has been such that I know never to place money on anything at a bookies.

I suppose I could go for the obvious stuff, ie there will be a general election in 2010, then again the possibility of Gordon Brown trying to abrogate centuries of (apparent) democracy by engineering a crisis to stay in power simply because I have predicted a general election is too much of a risk to take for me.
I could go for areas where whatever happens wont affect me too greatly but then again why should I saddle anyone else with my wish list or the anti-version of it more likely.
Generalities wont work anyway people want specifics and more often good stuff, this is why fortune tellers never tell you bad things, just the old tall dark stranger myth, keeps the punters happy. Then again, why should I keep you lot happy?................Oh, you'll stop reading my ramblings and I'll return to being a social pariah, good point.
Political predictions are probably best left to those who have insider knowledge anyway, Iain Dale, Guido etc. I just can't bring myself to care enough about politicians in general, though I can bring myself to care enough to hate what they've done, but hate is a corrosive thing so I try not to dwell on their corruption, arrogance, wilful blindness to the wishes of the people and incompetence, at least whilst I'm away from the blog. I do believe the political classes in the UK are in for a rude awakening one day, I just can't predict when, probably the day the sheeple get tired of endless X Factor re-runs. But beliefs aren't predictions either, otherwise Newcastle United would be a top team at least on the level of belief I can generate anyway.
I suppose that I could try making a set of predictions with the view that the opposite will happen such as a Labour win in 2010, but that's a bit like washing the car to make it rain, it only happens when you don't want it too and knowing my luck Labour would win and I'd have hordes of bloggers tracking me down to beat the crap out of me.

So, I predict that 2010 will be pretty much the same as 2009, same shit, different year.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Buying votes, hypocrisy, the Labour way

There's a headline in the soon to be gone Independent about the Tories buying votes, it's a soundbite by Jack (I hate the English) Straw.
Tories trying to buy power, says Straw

David Cameron is today accused by a senior Cabinet minister of attempting to "buy" victory at the general election with a US-style campaign dominated by advertising.

Writing in The Independent, Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, predicts the Tory campaign will be the most lavish in political history and denounces Mr Cameron for relying heavily on cash supplied by the party's deputy chairman, Lord Ashcroft, who has extensive business interests in Belize.
First off, this is the Tory party using donations to themselves from Lord Ashcroft legally gained and following all the rules, it does not matter if Ashcroft has extensive business interests on the moon, so long as he follows the rules, basically this is just spin from the Independent to try and paint the Tories as dependent on foreign cash (as opposed to Labour who are dependent on Union cash)

His provocative attack comes as the Conservatives prepare to launch a pre-election mini-manifesto next week backed by a flurry of advertising. Party chiefs are planning to unveil a succession of new policies in an attempt to persuade wavering voters they can offer a weighty programme for government.
Provocative? No desperate is closer to the mark, Labour are all but bankrupt and are seen as "losers" hence no-one in their right mind will fully support them and so they are having a bleat to a friendly paper to try and raise the issue.
With no limit on spending until an election is called, Mr Straw's comments also reflect Labour fears that the party is already being heavily outspent in the battle for crucial marginal constituencies. Lord Ashcroft is charge of the drive to capture those seats for the Tories.
Although Labour received donations totalling £2.25m before Christmas from three wealthy supporters, Labour's financial woes also mean it could struggle to match the Conservatives during the campaign.
Help, help the opposition can outspend us?
The Justice Secretary writes: "At the same time that Mr Cameron tells the British people we face 'austerity', he has ordered his party to fight the most expensive election campaign in British political history.
See above.

What people do with their money (including political parties) is up to them, if Labour had popular policies and fiscal credibility, they wouldn't be so worried, as it is the public know the mess we're in, who caused it and no amount of money or publicity for Labour will change that.

However it's the sheer breathtaking hypocrisy of Jack Straw complaining about buying power that's got me annoyed.


Poor families will also receive 12 months’ free internet use under the terms of the Home Access scheme, launched next year, which will allow parents to spend up to £500 on a computer from an approved list.
The move is part of a bid by ministers to drive up standards in deprived areas, with the white working classes thought to be at particular risk of being left behind.
This is Labour buying votes with my/our money not theirs.


John Denham, the Communities Secretary, admitted fast social change, including large flows of immigration, has led to resentment in some neighbourhoods that have also been hit hard by the recession.
It comes a day after academics warned the "traditional" white working class have been left behind and isolated in a changing Britain.
Mr Denham announced a £12 million programme to target such communities and make them feel more connected. 

A fierce debate within the government on how to tackle entrenched wealth inequality – possibly through a high pay commission or a tax on assets – is to be ignited by a report ordered by Harriet Harman, the Labour
The report is due to be published in January. Early drafts seen by ministers say wealth inequality has deepened, with the rungs on the ladder having grown further apart, reducing social mobility. It is also expected to underline the degree to which access to pensions and housing play a crucial role in entrenching inequalities in wealth and income.
Harman sees the report, which has been commissioned from a team of academics chaired by Professor John Hills, as a political opportunity for Labour to frame a progressive debate on inequality before the election.
Downing Street and the Treasury would be opposed to a new wealth tax, but there may be pressure for a tougher capital gains tax on main homes, or widening council tax bands. It is also likely to lead to calls for wider employee share ownership and home ownership.
Again this is Labour looking to bribe who they see are their core support.

So Jack Straw is complaining that the Tories are going to use their own money to outspend Labour in a political election campaign, yet Labour are prepared to use millions of taxpayers money funnelling it into areas of their core support via fake charities, free computers, equality taxation etc.

The man's a prize hypocrite!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Breaking the law

Lot of screaming in the media about Akmal Shaikh who was executed in China today for drug smuggling. I have a great deal of sympathy for his friends and family who have put up a major campaign to try and have his sentence commuted.
However I have little or no sympathy for Akmal Shaikh who smuggled drugs into a country where they have the death sentence for smuggling drugs. I also discount the mental illness aspect too, the man had bipolar disorder and whilst this is a mental illness it's not a debilitating one with regard to intelligence. He may have been in a fantasy world, but would still have known when on the opposing cycle that what he was doing was very wrong.
If you break the laws of a country that you are visiting then you have to face that countries legal system if caught, Shaikh had been found with more than 4kg of heroin, and being caught with 50g of heroin was enough for the death penalty under Chinese law. Now Shaikh might not have known about the death penalty but he certainly would have known that if caught he'd face justice.
Now a lot of people are criticising the Chinese government for their laws, but that's the system they have, it's harsh, but it followed their rules and Shaikh was found bang to rights by them. It's not as if he'd broken some quaint byelaw either, drug smuggling is a worldwide offence and China takes it as seriously as any modern country, that their law still has the death sentence for such offences may be upsetting to certain western sensibilities, but it's still China's law and that has to be respected.

It should also serve as a warning to any other would be drug smugglers to China too.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Don't mind me, I'm from the council

There are currently 1,043 laws that allow unrestricted access to your home, without your consent. Many are to do with public health and safety and seem common sense however a growing number aren't.
For instance....
  • To see if pot plants have plant pests or do not have a `plant passport' (Plant Health Order 2005). 
  • To  check  the  energy  ratings  on  refrigerators  (Energy  Information  Household  Refrigerators  and Freezers Regulations 2004).
  • Surveying the home and garden to see if hedges are too high (Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003).
  • Inspecting a property to ensure illegal or unregulated hypnotism is not taking place (Hypnotism Act 1952)

Spying on the public seems to be an obsession with public officials these days, what with the RIPA act where councils have used provisions to spy on recycling bin filling or on school catchment area applications. ID cards, cctv even the height of your hedges. Registered snoopers are constantly pushing the boundaries of what is legal and occasionally what isn't.
It's reckoned that every council has about 47 people who can simply stroll into your house without your permission. 2 years ago Gordon Brown pledged to review the power of councils to enter people’s homes without warrant. Never happened of course, it rarely does with this sort of legislation. The Tories have also made vague promises too, but nothing has been written down yet.

Alex Deane, Director of Big Brother Watch, said:
“Once, a man’s home was his castle. Today the Big Brother state wants to inspect, regulate and standardise the inside of our homes.
"Councils are dishing out powers of entry to officers within their council for their own ease, without giving due thought to the public’s right to privacy and the potential for abuse.
"There needs to be a much closer eye kept on the number of officers granted the right to barge into private premises without a warrant.” 
He's right, we aren't the ones who need watching, it's those who think they have a right to watch us who need pruning back and kept an eye on.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Get out of jail free card?

ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is a bit of a strange condition, there are those out there who simply do not believe it exists and those who claim to have it are simply "bad" lads/lasses and there are those who use it as an excuse for their behaviour, both are of course at the extremes of the situation.
Now my partner has a son who has been diagnosed with ADHD, fortunately quite mild, he hasn't shown any criminal intentions or even been in trouble with the law, he's a pretty good lad and he does know right from wrong and doesn't use his condition as an excuse for some of his occasional outbursts.

So, when I saw this in the Guardian, I looked at it with interest.
Police, courts and prisons will test all adult offenders for attention deficit disorders in a bid to reduce reoffending rates and cut aggressive behaviour in prisons.

The scheme is being set up by the Department of Health after research revealed a disproportionately high number of undiagnosed and untreated sufferers in the criminal justice system.

"We know that conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can contribute to people turning to crime," said health minister Phil Hope. "We are concerned that ADHD is not understood well enough in the criminal justice system so cases go unnoticed. In addition, when prisoners are released, they might be helped to find housing and employment but, if a health issue is not recognised, it can leave that person vulnerable to falling back into crime."

Research by the UK Adult ADHD Network revealed that almost 20% prisoners probably suffers from undiagnosed ADHD. Those with the disorder were at least one third more likely to reoffend than non-sufferers.

A second research paper produced at the meeting revealed that 10% of drug and alcohol addicts have ADHD. Both figures are much higher than the estimated prevalence of ADHD in the adult population of 2.5%.

Professor Philip Asherson , chair of the UK Adult ADHD Network, welcomed the initiative: "ADHD should be considered as a mental disorder that may impair criminal responsibility. They are vulnerable at every stage in their interface with the criminal justice system."
It may well be that ADHD is at the root of some prisoners re-offending, however that isn't any reason to excuse their behaviour, certainly medication can help to reduce the effects of the condition, however ADHD sufferers are perfectly capable of knowing right from wrong too it is emotional outbursts which often cause the problems, things that would mildly stress the average person can produce some fairly extreme anger and physical outbursts from someone with ADHD, but these can be controlled, but only of course if they know they have ADHD.
So, overall, yes by all means test the prison population for ADHD, perhaps it will help, however I do hope that ADHD will not become a catch all for avoiding prison sentencing. People who can't control themselves do not need an excuse to simply go out and cause more problems knowing that they have a get out of jail free card. If they can't control themselves even if on medication then the certainly should not be able to escape the consequences of their actions. ADHD should be recognised as a factor yes, but it should also not be an excuse and that's what I fear is coming from this decision, instead of building more prisons, they come up with more excuses not to put criminals behind bars.
The vast majority of ADHD sufferers aren't criminal in any way, don't cause problems and don't need their condition to become a crutch for those who can't control themselves.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Minding your own business

The governments of todays UK are obsessed with meddling in peoples lives, be it in drugs, alcohol, health and safety, even hobbies and pastimes.
One of the great acts of spite from the Labour government was the hunting ban, it was a purely class driven piece of spite as a sop to those on the left of the party so that those who actually ran things could get on with ruining the country for generations.
Personally I don't have a problem with what people do in their spare times, if they want to get up in fancy dress and chase vermin around the countryside on horses and with dogs that's their affair so long as they don't ask me to pay for it and repair any damage done in the meantime by their activities.

Still we have a Labour government in charge and this activity is still being used as a class issue to try and get votes because the "evil" Tories will probably repeal the legislation Labour brought in.

Environment Secretary Hilary Benn is launching a campaign to boost support for the fox hunting ban.
Mr Benn is urging people to sign up on a website backing the ban.
He claims the Tories plan to make repeal of the Hunting Act "a priority". Party leader David Cameron has promised MPs a free vote on the issue.
The pro-hunting Countryside Alliance has said today's meets could be the last traditional Boxing Day hunts before the ban is repealed.
Hunting foxes with dogs was outlawed in 2005, although hounds are still allowed to follow a scent or flush out a fox, but not kill it.

'Barbaric act'
Mr Benn's campaign is being launched to coincide with the Boxing Day hunts and is backed by the actors Patrick Stewart, Jenny Seagrove and Tony Robinson.
The environment secretary said: "For David Cameron, getting the act repealed is a priority.
"He used to hunt foxes; he talked about fox hunting in his first ever speech to Parliament; and he has said that if he becomes prime minister he will get rid of the fox hunting ban.
 Note the emotive language there, "barbaric" etc, clearly designed to woo voters and paint a picture of the Tories as someone you wouldn't touch with a bargepole.
And yet the clues are still there in the text, Cameron has promised a free vote, no whips as Labour have used to force legislation through in the past. In other words it will be a vote of conscience, something Labour have foregone these days with their gutter politics and class warfare policies.
So, it's not a priority at all for Cameron, I doubt it will even be in the manifesto, though I may be wrong.
In my mind it's all about civil liberties and the libertarian in me thinks that so long as no one else is harmed why should the government interfere in any activity, it may be cruel and barbaric, but so what, it's what some people want to do and so long as they don't ride their horses through my house it's really not a major issue with me or I suspect a lot of people.

This whole hunting ban was simply an issue of Labour spite, for that reason alone it should be repealed. After that should come a repeal of the gun laws brought in after Dunblane, but then again I've always suspected that our politicians don't want the ordinary man in the street to have access to weapons in case they use them on politicians, quite happy with criminals having them though as the result of the legislation so it would seem.

Still a return to civil liberties and personal freedoms would be welcome, though I suspect that a repeal of the hunting ban would be as far as we get with the Tories, but at least it's a start.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

To those who chose to read the ramblings of a mad Englishman, many thanks and may your Christmas's be as wonderful as mine.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

And in local news.......

Steam trains have a whiff of nostalgia about them, whilst by no means a steam buff I do enjoy seeing them run and will take an opportunity to have a ride on one whenever possible.
So this brought a bit of joy to my heart.


Steam trains snow rescue 'glory'

Tornado in Kent
Darlington-built Tornado was unaffected by the freezing conditions

Passengers were rescued by a steam locomotive after modern rail services were brought to a halt by the snowy conditions in south-east England.

Trains between Ashford and Dover were suspended on Monday when cold weather disabled the electric rail.
Some commuters at London Victoria faced lengthy delays until Tornado - Britain's first mainline steam engine in 50 years - offered them a lift.
They were taken home "in style", said the Darlington-built engine's owners.
Wow, just wow.

Just goes to show that occasionally old style engineering can compete with modern far more complex systems. The Tornado has been one of my ongoing interests for a few years from when I first heard about it. My first thoughts were "Oh someone's building a model steam train." However it turned out the scale was 1 to 1 and it was to be a full sized train, no model simply a thing of beauty.

If any operators want to modernise their services by using steam trains, I would be happy to give them a quote

Mark Allatt, A1 Steam Locomotive Trust

Oh yes indeed.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tampering with tradition

Probably a big festive non story but it did raise an eyebrow at Castle QM was this addition to the MSM's they're "banning Christmas pc gone mad" meme.

God rest ye merry ladies and gentlemen... Christmas carols given PC rewrite
Much-loved Christmas carols are being rewritten to make them politically correct, it is claimed.

Verses are being changed by clergy and teachers to remove supposedly chauvinistic references to men, sons and kings, making them “gender inclusive”.

Even the word white is being censored for fear of racism accusations, while some schools and churches no longer sing about the virgin Mary.
Many parishioners feel it is unnecessary to meddle with the words of carols that have been sung for centuries without causing any offence.
In many cases the new words do not fit the tune, causing choirs to stumble over them.
People who only go to church once a year to sing carols are also left confused when they find the words they remember have been changed.
Nic Robinson, a teacher from Derbyshire, told of his “bemusement and sadness” to find at a recent carol service that many of the words of Hark! The Herald Angels Sing had been tampered with.
The original - written by Charles Wesley, one of the founders of the Methodist movement – included the lines “Born that man no more may die” and “Born to raise the sons of Earth” in the third verse.
But the version printed on the service sheets at Mr Robinson’s daughter’s school had “Born that we no more may die” and “Born to raise us from the earth”.
Another line in the second verse had been changed from “Pleased as man with man to dwell” to “Pleased with us in flesh to dwell”.
Mr Robinson said: “I am sure some bishop will write now, explaining, kindly, that hymns have been evolving throughout the ages and that this one, in particular, has known many versions. May I ask the bishop not to bother, but rather to spend his time in contacting the people who have defaced my favourite carol.”
Why can't the Righteous (for this is clearly the Righteous) leave things alone? They only make themselves look stupid and they surely must know the result of tampering with tradition, then again they probably just don't care.
Now you could possibly make a case for replacing archaic terms and words, those whose meanings have changed, after all King James II called the just completed St. Paul's Cathedral amusing, awful and artificial (When he lived, those words meant that the cathedral was "pleasing, awe-inspiring and artful" respectively.) but gender stereotyping in Christmas Carols?
There are times when I'm feeling generous that I conclude that they mean well but are somewhat foolish, but those moments tend to last seconds and most of the time I believe it's a genuine wind-up to try and provoke a reaction. Still the pc brigade continue to try and get in their knocks and shape the world to their weird non-gendered, non-racist, multicultural version of hell.
Last year a Church of England vicar banned his congregation from singing O Little Town of Bethlehem because he believed the words did not reflect the plight of current occupants of Jesus’s birthplace.
Which inhabitants? Would that be the Christians who lived in Bethlehem who have been driven out in recent years by Hamas hoodlums? Or is it the same old tired anti-Israeli rant by someone who forgets Jesus was Jewish? Either way pc gone mad.

Some churches have altered the words to Once In Royal David’s City, removing a reference to children “all in white” and replacing it with “bright like stars”.
Modern versions of God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen have taken out the reference to a “pure virgin bright” and inserted a line about “David’s town tonight”.
You can just imagine some twit spending their days altering carols to suit the Righteous' version of bland neutralism and for what? So people like me can poke fun at them?
No, it's to enslave us all to the notion of thought-crime, remove the words or change the meaning and you remove the context for dissent. It wont work, they can't change how people think (yet) but it never stops them trying to ruin Christmas one way or another.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

So, why don't the English get a say?

So, the leaders of the main parties in Westminster are to have 3 debates settled over Sky, ITV and the BBC. Of course there are rumblings of discontent from minority parties particularly the SNP about how unfair this is, though to be honest the SNP are never going to be the majority party in Westminster, though at least they have the decency not to vote on matters pertaining only to England.
Yet as a sop the minority parties in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are to have their own debates, yet there's one glaring omission and that is of course England.

The BBC and Sky have promised to hold separate debates between the parties in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
But the SNP and Plaid Cymru have attacked their exclusion from the main UK-wide prime ministerial debates as unacceptable and undemocratic.
SNP leader Alex Salmond says he will fight it in the courts if necessary.
The first of the 90 minute programmes, with Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Conservative leader David Cameron and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg will be on ITV, the second on Sky and the third on the BBC.
ITV's Alastair Stewart will host the first, Sky's Adam Boulton the second and the BBC's David Dimbleby will host the third debate.
Now I don't have a problem with the minority parties in the other parts of the UK having a debate, though as I've pointed out they are unlikely to hold a majority in Westminster, but the same could also be said of the Lib Dems too. However the exclusion of England from any such debate rankles quite a bit. Yes any such debates would probably involve the same political parties as the main debates however it would be interesting for say Gordon Brown to answer questions directly pertaining to issues that he has foisted on the English that are devolved to the Scottish Parliament and he has never had to answer to his own constituents over. The main debates will be on UK issues, they wont be on English issues and with no comparable debate for the English as there is in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, this strikes me as terribly wrong.

Some people believe that Westminster is the English Parliament, they are wrong, Westminster's remit is to the whole of the UK. People point out that the majority of MP's are English, yet fail to see the voting goes on party lines, not national and again debate tends to run on what's best (in the eyes of the politicians) for the UK, not necessarily for England. England is effectively disenfranchised from the political process, even our current PM can introduce English only bills knowing he wont have to answer to his constituents for the resulting changes yet he and his Scottish MP's can smugly vote to force such legislation on my country, they have in the past and until it's resolved they will again.

These debates probably wont change much, yet they show to England's nationalists just how powerless we are and so our anger grows, this can't and wont go on forever, but the main parties as well as the media still choose to ignore us, the end result will probably be messy, but that's often the case where people who don't get a say finally demand one, and yes, we will finally demand our say and I doubt anyone outside England will like it much if it's allowed to fester as it has for much longer.

Monday, December 21, 2009

A disastrous year? Perhaps.

The Speaker for the House of Commons suggests it was a disastrous year for MP's, mostly to do with expenses, though I and others could suggest a few other things that they seem to believe we'll swallow without protest.

MPs have seen a “cataclysmic” change for the worse in the wake of the expenses scandal, according to John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons.
Mr Bercow said it had been a disastrous year for the reputation of politicians and they should not just wait for the “fuss to subside” before changing the system. The Speaker said he was keen to see reforms which would place MPs above reproach.
“I think the change for the worse over the past six months has been seismic, it has been cataclysmic,” he told the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“It has been disastrous for the standing and the reputation of the House of Commons.
I do not, however, think that that damage is irreversible.
“If, however, we are to reverse it, it is not good enough simply to think the fuss will subside, the protest will die down, things will return to normal after a passage of time.
“If there is no payback from the House, there will be no comeback for the House.”
Mr Bercow said MPs needed to make “decisive, fundamental and irrevocable change”.
 Certainly from a sitting MP's position it was disastrous, all their little scams and schemes coming to light as the stone was upturned and they faced scrutiny in the light of day. Disastrous indeed for the MSM who probably knew just who the crooks were yet chose not to pursue the case until the files were offered out to all and sundry and may even have been ignored then if it weren't for the blogosphere harping on about it.
I don't think any of the current sitting MP's with a few notable exceptions are fit to represent the people, they're all damaged goods, they must have known of the deliberate manipulation of the expenses scheme and yet they sat on their hands and did nothing. Nor has the civil service come out of this intact, certainly the clerks administering the scheme allowed themselves to be bullied and cowed by the MP's and the current speakers predecessor.

Is this disastrous for the institution of Parliamentary democracy as passes in the UK? No, I don't think it is, though they certainly may have sounded a death knell for it. What needs to be done is not a tightening of the rules as such, but a reclamation of integrity by all politicians, a reclamation of the sovereignty lost to the EU, the reduction in power of the whips office to only those matters pertaining to manifesto promises, the repatriation of powers back to local authorities and a general removal of all laws that have been used to restrict peoples rights including those on tobacco and alcohol.
That would be a start, also you could restrict the activities of the Civil Service back to their rightful role and put matters of policy back to ministers, also you could repair the asymmetric devolution in this country by setting up an English parliament which would also add a layer of accountability to Westminster as well as reducing the number of UK MP's needed to run the country.

From my point of view it will only be a disaster if nothing comes from the whole expenses debacle, if it's business as usual once they think we're not watching then a disaster it will be.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Not just the politicians

Fiddling is a factor of life, doesn't matter where you work or even don't work, you usually know someone who's on the fiddle assuming of course it isn't yourself. Often it's minor, a few additional miles on the motoring expenses, free pens and stationary, even the use of the photocopier for personal stuff.

Our politicians are at it too, save only on a far larger scale than most of the public would dream of doing, well not without worrying about the possibility of prison anyway. But it's not just the Politicians, it's also our civil servants, those who implement government policy.

Crooked civil servants have cost government departments more than £12m over the past three years through a series of frauds, including bogus benefit claims and expenses fiddles.
Managers caught more than 1,000 staff responsible for £4.2m worth of thefts and fiddles in the past year alone, an analysis by Treasury bosses has shown. The figure comes on top of £4.2m last year and £3.85m in 2006-07.
The toll of 1,320 cases in 2008-09 was almost double the total uncovered in the previous 12 months – and at least one of the cheats was caught selling their stolen goods on the internet site eBay. However, not all the perpetrators were reported to the police or confronted with internal disciplinary action.
The disturbing findings open up a new front in the campaign against the misuse of taxpayers' money, following the long furore over MPs' expenses.
The Treasury's study of 45 central-government bodies, including all main departments, found that 25 had discovered fraud in 2008-09. It noted a "significant increase" in the number of cases, particularly those exploiting assets and information, travel and subsistence fiddles and theft.
The most expensive payment fraud was carried out by a member of staff who banked more than £350,000 by creating false records and authorising fraudulent repayment claims. The employee was dismissed and faces legal proceedings.
Another fraudster cheated their department of £246,400 by creating invoices for a non-existent supplier, quoting a virtual office address and fictional Companies House and VAT registrations.
So, it's not just those making the laws, it's those who implement them too. Not that every civil servant is a crook in pretty much the same way anyone who makes a genuine mistake on a benefit claim isn't a crook, though you'd be hard pushed to get the government to admit that, at least in the case of the benefitee.
Corruption seems to be endemic throughout our society, in one sense it's human nature, but in another it's also an indicator of a change coming on how society views itself. I suppose it's also a sign of decadence amongst those who rule perhaps as well as hypocrisy in that what they allow themselves to take without prosecution they will not allow anyone else. It will be interesting to see when (or if) an enough is enough moment comes. Where those who purport to rule face the wrath of the public. Perhaps though it will not and we'll go quietly robbed into the night saving only our anger for an X Factor voting dispute.
They say people get the government they deserve.

Perhaps we have, perhaps we have.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

One rule for some.

There's an article in the Guardian about Philip Davies MP who apparently "bombarded" the government's equalities watchdog (Trevor Phillips) in a personal crusade about the evils of political correctness.

A Tory MP has bombarded the government's equalities watchdog with a series of extraordinary letters about race and sex discrimination, in a one-man campaign against "political correctness".
In the latest of 19 letters sent since April 2008, and likely to dismay equal rights campaigners, Philip Davies asks Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission: "Is it offensive to black up or not, particularly if you are impersonating a black person?"
In a postscript to the letter, he asks "why it is so offensive to black up your face, as I have never understood this".
Davies, MP for Shipley and "parliamentary spokesman" for the Campaign Against Political Correctness lobby group, also asked:
• Whether the Metropolitan Black Police Association breaches discrimination law by restricting its membership to black people. He compared this to the BNP's whites-only policy, which the far-right party has now agreed to change.
• Whether the women-only Orange prize for fiction discriminates against men. • Whether it was racist for a policeman to refer to a BMW as "black man's wheels".
• Whether it was lawful for an advert for a job working with victims of domestic violence to specify that applicants had to be female and/or black or ethnic minority.
• Whether a "Miss White Britain" competition or a "White Power List" would be racist, after Phillips justified the existence of Miss Black Britain prizes and the Black Power List. "Is there any difference legally or morally than publishing a white list? Do you think this entrenches division?"
• Whether anti-discrimination laws ought to be extended "to cover bald people (and perhaps fat people and short people)".
Phillips (or on one occasion an adviser) answered each letter at length, with the exception of the last query, to which the EHRC chairman gave a succinct reply: "The answer to your question is no."
Now regardless of his politics, Philip Davies is making a valid point about hypocrisy and particularly the hypocrisy of those who maintain you can't be racist if you aren't "white" yes I'm talking about you and your weird beliefs Jo Brand.
This is a problem for the majority in the country as if they question all of the above they usually get tarred by the epithet "racist" whether they are or aren't. The last 20 years or so has seen an almost constant build up of politically correct thought crimes, where you simply can't say what you think without being howled down by the politically correct brigade. So naturally people stopped saying what they thought, didn't stop them thinking it though. This gradual crushing down of spoken and written dissent has lead to a feeling of alienation in the public that becomes ever more aggrieved when the minority apparently can and do get away with racism or discrimination against the majority.
Well you can only do this so long and it comes back to haunt you, people will question the motives and the hypocrisy of the MOBO (Music of black origin) awards simply because you don't have a MOWO (Music of white origin) award. Not that there's any particular need of a MOWO, but because some feel the need of a MOBO and would speak out against any attempt to have a MOWO because it's obviously racist. Hence one of the reasons for the rise of the BNP, people might hate what they stand for, but in certain aspects at least they say it like it is.

As an example of hypocrisy, take a look at this Eddie Murphy sketch and think about how it would look if another comedian "blacked up"

Philip Davies is right, there's a stench of hypocrisy in the maintaining of equal rights in this country.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Global warming my ..................


6 inches of snow, kids off school and the dog having the time of his life and creating a lot of yellow snow.
Yes I know that the warmists in their panic are now telling us that weather isn't climate (cept when it's their hot weather) but wow it's been fun today, bitterly cold (0˚c) snowmen, stranded cars, sleds, panic buying, snowball fights and a sense of joy too. Tonight I'll probably start on the Gluhwein a German hot mulled wine and very potent but perfect for winter evenings.
Will it last? Who knows, but perhaps we'll have the white Christmas that everyone dreams of and Bing Crosby will hit the charts (again)

Some days life is just a bit better for the weather and today is one of them. Tomorrow no doubt some idiot in politics will come to my attention and rant mode will go on. But today all is well in my England and I'm taking the dog out for another romp in a few minutes, he chases snowballs and gets a bit mystified when he can't find them in the snow.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A thankful humdrum day

Twice a year I have to travel from my home in the Medway towns into London, I have a hospital appointment that although it doesn't take all to long, necessitates an all day visit. Yet for all I don't particularly like London we've (my good lady and I) made a very nice day of it starting with a relaxing train journey into Victoria and a tube trip to Kensington South. Very cold and overcast, but no snow like yesterday. Then we have a quick trip into the Royal Marsden hospital for an x-ray then off to the Anglesea Arms for a pint or two of ale.

I wouldn't say it was a traditional Victorian pub, though it has all the trappings of one, nor is it the clientèle as it's as mixed as a large city ever has, there's no juke box or fruit machines, it's just a bloody good pub with a variety of real ales, wines and spirits, excellent chef too.
I had a pint of Sharps Nadelik (4.6%abv) apparently it's their Christmas beer Nadelik meaning Christmas in Cornish. And very pleasant it was, bit like Old Peculiar in flavour, but not as strong or as potent.
Then it was back to the hospital for a check up with the doctors and back home, stopping off for a Cornish pasty in Victoria en-route.

I'm glad to do the visit, it's not just the pub, or even the Cornish pasty tradition, if the whole rigmarole could be called a tradition, we've only been doing it 3 years. It's the circumstances surrounding it, 3 years ago I was diagnosed as having cancer, a large malignant tumour in my arm had to be removed. 10 years ago I'dve lost the arm, 50 years ago it would have killed me, slowly, painfully but assuredly. At the time I was looking at losing my job, losing my independence and probably having the good taxpayers of the UK supporting me via invalidity allowances. Instead I still have a working arm though nerve damaged and half a bicep missing. I still have a job and a great deal of freedom and for this I'm thankful for the skills of the consultant surgeon and thankful that I can travel into London, still alive and still fully functional, plus I can enjoy a decent pint in a decent pub and use either hand to pick it up with.

Yes it's a humdrum day, but thank God for that.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

So where's mine then?

The Government is spending £8 million of taxpayers money on freebies.

The government has defended planned spending of £8m on merchandise and promotional items such as mugs, hats, and Frisbees over the next four years.
Individual departments and public bodies use the goods to promote policy campaigns, to support public sector recruitment and to reward staff.
The Conservatives said the expenditure was "vanity marketing" when ministers should be saving every penny they can.
But a government spokesman said only "practical everyday items" were bought.
Government departments and public bodies spent £3m on merchandise last year.
This figure "fluctuated" from year to year, the spokesman said, with forecast spending of £2m a year between 2010 and 2014.
Among the items set to be ordered from 58 UK-only suppliers include promotional pens, key rings, travel wallets, tea towels, polo shirts, lip balms and "beanie" hats.
In a press release announcing the four-year contract, the Central Office of Information - which provides marketing and publicity services to government - said the firms would provide "high quality and cost-effective solutions" to departments and other public bodies.
They don't get it, it's not their money it's ours they are wasting on this stuff, I know they are buying from UK suppliers but still all that means is that the taxpayer is subsidising these companies too.
The government of this country should be the absolute minimum necessary to do the job required of it, there should be no compulsory spending, intervention, and regulation, except those whose only function is to protect individuals from aggression. The only government functions should be courts, military, and police, in other words no frills, no massively bloated bureaucracy, no quangocracies, just the sheer bloody minimum to do a quality if limited job.
Everything else should be devolved down to local level and individual choice because anything else is just daylight robbery by politicians and civil servants for politicians and civil servants.

The core vote

All political parties have a core vote, those that they can (usually) rely on to vote for them so long as they don't stray too far from the basic principles of the parties founding beliefs.
So, I looked at this Telegraph article from Simon Heffer with interest.
Politics is full of puzzles. I have been trying to solve one ever since Alistair Darling sat down last Wednesday, after his comically inadequate pre-Budget report. Why is it deemed politically acceptable for Labour to suck up to and bribe its core vote, but not for the Conservative Party to do the same to its own?
 It's actually a bit simplistic though Heffer does have a go at the shadow chancellor George Osborne about the way he approaches finances and his parliamentary performance in general which raised some valid points. The major point he misses though is that you don't win elections by pandering to your core vote, you win them by appealing to a far broader stretch of the electorate than the "my party, right or wrong" brigade. The reason that Brown and Darling are bribing their core vote is because they've finally managed to drive that core vote into either not voting or voting for someone else closer to the basic principles they expect from Labour (aka the BNP) The reason Labour need to do this is that if their core vote collapses they are finished as a major political party in pretty much the same way the Liberals collapsed after WW1. Someone else will step in to fill the void no doubt, but that will be too late for the near bankrupt Labour party, if they can't influence government and don't look like recovering, their union paymasters will drop them and move to someone else.
The Tories on the other hand are trying to appeal to a far broader base of the electorate from disaffected Labour voters (not the core) to the middle classes and swing voters, the ones who decide every election in other words.
This Pre Budget Report was simply a Labour attempt at bread and circuses, hence the bingo tax reduction, though I doubt that the return of VAT to 17.5% will make them that popular. If they'd really wanted to go the whole hog they'd have reduced the duty on booze and cigarettes, but I reckon the strong Presbyterian streak running through Browns veins would not let him do that, besides they really need the cash from that to keep this creaking economy and government overspend going.

The reason the Tories are not trying to suck up to their core vote is that the core vote wants to win no matter what, like Labour in 1997, so the Tory leadership can try to woo the undecided knowing the core vote is mostly solid apart from the UKIP fly in the ointment. The Tories real problems will start once they are in power as they tackle a failing economy plus a core vote that will try and force the issue over the EU at the party conferences. When the Tories do start pandering to their core vote, you'll know that they are on the way out and need to offer a bribe to make sure it is they who don't go into political oblivion. At the moment they don't need too as dangerously divided on the EU that they are, but that day is coming fast, the core vote will insist on a vote in or out, or else.

Cameron is also irritating his core vote on green issues too...
"A very small number of people take a different view on the science, but the policy is driven by me, and that is the way it is going to be."
And this is before he gets elected, he's in for a very brief honeymoon period then I suspect the knives will come out, the Tory core vote unlike the Labour core vote are not stupid and can smell bullshit on global warming climate change easily.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Trafigura and Carter Ruck time again

From the blog of Constantly Furious

Once again, the evil law-monkeys Carter Ruck have got a media organisation - this time the mighty BBC - exactly where they want 'em, bent over and braced to squeal like a piggie.

According to the (admittedly usually execrable) New Statesman, Carter Fuck have bullied Newsnight into removing all reference to their investigation into the Trafigura story from its website.

Now, we've all talked about the Trafigura - or #trafigura as the tweetsphere calls it - scandal before, haven't we? Carter Fuck failed to gag the Grauniad over this shocking case, and there's no reason to think they won't fail again here.

They probably know that, but the authoritarian urges die hard, especially when you're being paid five hundred fucking quid an hour to indulge them.

So, here's the video Tragiura and Carter Fuck would rather you didn't see..

Trafigura time again.

Hat Tip Constantly Furious.

March or May? Just go!

Politicians getting unsettled, will he wont he, you'd think it was important, though in reality after Lisbon it makes next to no difference who rules, different faces, same masters in Brussels. Yes it's election speculation time, when will Gordon go to the polls, it's about the only important decision he can make all to himself, a Prime Ministers prerogative so to speak.

The sudden flurry of speculation that Gordon Brown might opt for a 25 March general election finds MPs in all parties at Westminster deeply divided on the prospect. Tory MPs dismiss it as a Labour-spun rumour to unsettle them. On a night when ICM's latest Guardian poll confirmed the closing gap – now 9% – Labour colleagues return the compliment.
Hazel Blears is confident of holding her Salford seat despite everything, but would prefer the established favourite date, 6 May, which coincides with the local elections. Door-knocking needs volunteers and council elections guarantees them. Besides, March is still cold and dark. In Islington North her leftwing colleague, Jeremy Corbyn, would prefer 25 March, "so the Tories have less time to spend all that money".
Some Conservative MPs, even those jittery as they contemplate a hung parliament under a leader who commands less respect or affection than they would like, want to get it over with in March. "The third quarter (Oct-Dec) growth figures will be better in the Christmas runup, then they'll dip again when VAT rises," protests one. Good point: bad Jan-March data would surface in April.
But not even March-ites can convince themselves it will happen. "Brown always ducks decisions, it's the story of his life," snaps another May-ite, this time Labour. The case for having another budget, despite the widely-hostile reception for last week's PBR, is as strong as avoiding having one.
One thing is for certain, the best thing Brown can hope for is a hung parliament, though it's unlikely to say the least that Labour will form the majority party in it. If they don't then I doubt the Lib Dems will ally with them, it would be akin to serving up tainted fruit.
Yes the public are heartily sick of this corrupt Labour government, but the Conservatives have yet to sell themselves as a credible government with a credible leader. Being seen as a nice guy only worked for Blair in a time of economic prosperity, Cameron faces a massive recession where being Mr. Nice-guy is not going to be enough and the public know this. They also know a man of weak principles too, no one will believe a cast iron guarantee off Cameron ever again in pretty much the same way that anyone knows that a Labour manifesto promise is not subject to legitimate expectations.
So we have to put up with Brown trying to figure out when would be the best time to go to the people, which naturally for him will be when is best for Labour or alternatively worst for the Tories, that's the way the man thinks, it wont be what's best for you or I or what's best for the country, but it will be born out of the selfish desire to do the maximum amount of damage to the next government bearing in mind that he knows he wont be in charge of it barring a miracle.
Either way what we'll end up with is much of the same, a lot of words and a good few more EU directives, because not one of the main parties will give us a say whether we want Brussels directing our lives.

So, I wont vote for the Lab/Lib/Con pact, they don't represent me and wont give me and the majority our say and for as long as they ignore me, I'll ignore them save only to stick the boot in with words as and when I can.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Wasn't the only thing they ignored.

My views on wind farms are pretty straight forward, they don't work too well, they're expensive to maintain, uneconomic without government subsidies and highly environmentally unfriendly in that they sit on a huge concrete pad and also swat birds out of the sky with ease.
Well I have another reason now.

Wind turbine noise warnings were dismissed by civil servants

A warning about the health effects of noise from wind turbines was removed from a government study following pressure from civil servants.

Consultants recommended lowering night-time noise limits because the sounds made by spinning blades were enough to disrupt sleep patterns.
However, the advice, contained in a draft version of their 2006 report, was removed from the final submission which was eventually used in official guidance for local authorities ruling on planning applications from wind farm developers.
It means that hundreds of turbines at wind farms in Britain built since 2006 have been allowed to continue generating high levels of noise.
Evidence of the changed advice was uncovered after a two-year battle using the Freedom of Information Act by campaigners opposed to a wind turbine development close to their home at in mid-Devon.
One of those campaigners, Mike Hulme, said: “This proves what we have been saying all along, that the noise guidelines should be reviewed. They haven’t changed substantially since 1997, in which time the design of turbines has changed and the number of wind farms has increased.
“Turbines used to be about 50 feet and now they are closer to 400 feet.
"Residents are afraid to complain to their council because the problem is then in the public domain and it becomes impossible to sell their house."
So, it turns out they're bloody noisy too, though why civil servants thought to cover this up is interesting. I can only put this down to one of two things. Either the civil servants were raving greenies, or that they were following EU guidelines on carbon reduction and didn't want to bother the people elected to lead us with that sort of trivial detail.
I frequently have this argument with people all over the net including my kids but they just don't get it, these things are not green, they aren't economic and they plain don't work on windless days as well as too windy ones. They see the facts, but it's like they have blinkers on when it comes to the term environmentally friendly and don't check the facts that they very clearly are not!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Welcome to the real world.

Well the Greenies finally discovered that for all the global warming climate change talks going on in Copenhagen that their views weren't wanted or necessary to the political consensus of robbing us blind whilst maintaining lip service only to environmentalism. A sort of window dressing all style and no substance.

More than 900 campaigners were arrested in Copenhagen last night as police were accused of overreacting to sporadic street violence. The arrests came the day before an appeal in the Danish capital by the archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, for people to start loving and caring for their world.
Williams will address a congregation including Queen Margrethe of Denmark and senior international politicians. He will call for a scaling down of the extravagant use of energy and the amount of waste across the planet. "These things will only happen if we learn to love the world we live in," he will say.
Williams, a passionate believer in the need for control of the causes of climate change, has had strong words for those who deny that man's activities are not responsible for the current phase of global warming. "Don't please listen to those who say that there is some kind of choice to be made between looking after human beings and looking after the planet. It is one of the most foolish errors around these days," he said.
But last night violence broke out when tens of thousands of people – some dressed as penguins and polar bears, carrying signs saying: "Save the humans" – took to the streets. The march had been organised to urge conference delegates to work out a binding deal to tackle climate change but was marred when a group of protesters threw bricks at police.
Police said two Britons had been deported. "There were many thousands on the march. The police knew that some of them were activists. Some of them were throwing stones and in that case we make arrests. The activists also wear masks on their faces and this is illegal under Danish law," police spokesman Henrik Moeller Jakobsen said.
 Police over-reacting? No, I think the Greenies were just being a nuisance to the whole process. It's not like Copenhagen has anything to do with reality anyway. The furore over the CRU leak, the suing of Nasa over their Giss data and now the recent calling into question of the entire Ipcc datase rather proves the point all too well.
I believe the Green religion is about to find out just how well they've been stitched up by the political classes, used, abused and now discarded. Once the deals been done, once the monies been allocated then the funding for their lobbyists will be stopped and the iron fist will come out of the velvet glove as was demonstrated in Copenhagen.

Welcome back to the real world watermelons, you were useful in getting what the politicians and the NWO wanted, but now you're in the way. Bye, bye, you wont be missed.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

State interference.

The anti-alcohol Nazi's are at it again using Health and Safety llegislation to increase the price of a drink.

An influential committee of MPs will next month urge the government to bring in a minimum price for alcohol in an attempt to reduce drink-related deaths, injuries and accidents.
The move, by the House of Commons health select committee, will reopen the debate around a measure which the BMA and the chief medical officer support but the prime minister, Gordon Brown, opposes. Imposing a minimum price of 50p a unit of alcohol wherever it is sold could save 3,000 lives a year, curb binge drinking and make drink harder to obtain for those on lower incomes, the MPs say.
The prime minister has ruled out minimum pricing on the grounds that it would be unfair on the large majority of drinkers whose consumption poses no problem to themselves or others. But Sir Liam Donaldson, the chief medical officer for England, advocates the change, as do some Labour MPs, the BMA, Royal College of Physicians and others in the medical establishment.
The MPs' strongly worded report on alcohol also accuses the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) of "extraordinary naivety" over the introduction of 24-hour drinking. Their report is particularly critical of the DCMS, which sponsored the Licensing Act 2003 that allowed licensed premises to open around the clock from late 2005, and its claim that extended licensing hours would lead to more laid back, European-style drinking patterns in the UK.
The 120-page report, which was finalised last week and is out on 7 January, says: "The department has shown extraordinary naivety in believing that the Licensing Act 2003 would bring about a civilised cafe culture."
The MPs are highly critical of those who produce and sell alcohol. Their efforts to minimise drink-related harm and propose a series of tough new measures will alarm the drinks industry, some of whose concerns may be echoed by the DCMS and Peter Mandelson's business department.
 Scaremongering as ever, the problem isn't drinkers as such it's drunks and the police already have powers to deal with drunks, their only problem is that the paperwork involved means they spend too much time at the office and not out dealing with them.
So what does the state come up with, well as usual it's the lets tax it out of existence ploy. This is despite the fact that a) it wont work, because b) if it gets too expensive people will find something else cheaper and probably worse.
You wont change a culture of binge drinking by making alcohol prohibitively expensive, what you will get is social unrest because the populace has no legitimate means of letting off steam. The Romans knew this which is why the Emperors had the bread and circuses thing, kept the populace happy and not stringing up the Emperor. Even the Soviet block had that figured, they staved off the inevitable collapse for years by keeping booze and food cheap.
Britons have very few cheap ways now to let off steam, everythings been taxed or health and safetied to the point of not being worth doing. People like the feeling of a bit of risk, particularly the young and legislating away the danger or preventing them from relaxing will only lead to greater social unrest and more problems for the police to deal with. If the state thinks things are bad now wait till they see what happens if the people can't easily let off steam.

Leaving people alone, letting them take risks however dangerous to themselves and keeping the states nose out of our business is the answer. But these busybodies are too power happy and meddlesome ever to see that.

Friday, December 11, 2009

€7.2 billion reasons to leave

Well that was predictable, our overlords and masters (until the revolution) have decided that a lot of our money is to be best spent on tilting at windmills climate change in developing countries. Not on Europeans mind you, but on other nations.

EU leaders have agreed to pay 7.2bn euros (£6.5bn; $10.6bn) over the next three years to help developing nations adapt to climate change.
Announcing the deal, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said all 27 EU member nations would contribute and that the EU was doing its "fair share".
UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the UK's promise, at £500m ($800m; 553m euros) a year was the highest.
EU leaders hope the deal may boost the ongoing UN climate talks in Copenhagen.
The president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, said he was confident the agreement could kick-start the final negotiations there.
But BBC environment correspondent Richard Black says that although EU leaders believe they have a credible finance proposal, it is by no means certain that all developing countries will see it as enough, even if the EU figures are matched by countries such as Japan and the US.
 And yes, there's Brown supposedly running a country deep in recession through his own financial mismanagement giving away £500 million of our cash to try and stop something that may not be happening the way scientists think. Certainly not if the data from the leaked CRU lab is to be believed. The money looks as if it's being sent to line the Swiss bank accounts of various African countries leaders.
Now I know all the arguments on climate change and I'm definitely a sceptic and with good reason as the recent furore has proved that I was right that the consensus about global warming climate change is not as air tight as certain climatologists and politicians would have us believe. Prevention (as if you could) would be horrendously expensive which is why politicians are all for it as some of the cash will no doubt "stick" to their greasy little paws. However adaption will not be so expensive and will be workable as we adapt the needs and the infrastructure of our countries to meet the changes, not prevent them.

Mind you that would take common sense which is thin on the ground with our current crop of elected leaders.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wonder what they're hiding

FOI requests are brilliant and quite frankly I cannot imagine what Labour was thinking of when they introduced them.What's even more telling is when they're refused.
Jack Straw (he of the infamous English are violent quote) has decided he doesn't want us to know about a cabinet meeting back in 1997, just after Labour came to power.


Justice Secretary Jack Straw today blocked the publication of minutes of a 1997 Cabinet committee meeting on devolution.
It is only the second time since the Freedom of Information Act came into force in 2005 that the Government has used its veto following a ruling to release material by the Information Commissioner.
Mr Straw told MPs that disclosure of the information would put the convention of collective Cabinet responsibility for decisions "at serious risk of harm".
In a written statement to Parliament he said the decision "was not taken lightly".
Mr Straw said that in his opinion the Information Commissioner "wrongly found that the Cabinet Office had failed to comply" with the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act by withholding copies of the minutes.
The only other time Mr Straw has vetoed publication was in February this year when he blocked the release of Cabinet minutes relating to the Iraq War.
In his statement today, he said: "This is only the second time this power has been exercised since the Act came into force in 2005 and over that period of time central government has received approximately 160,000 non-routine requests for information."
He added: "My conclusion rests on an assessment of the public interest in disclosure and non-disclosure of these Cabinet minutes and of the exceptional nature of the case.
 Now what in hells name could Straw have to hide over devolution, after all it was a Labour flagship policy. I suspect the reasons might be a little prosaic, but I'm more than willing to speculate even if I'm wrong.
I suspect that one of the cabinet members strongly objected to the idea of Scottish devolution, at least in private and I suspect that that member may have been Scottish themselves.
So, lets away to the rogues gallery of Blair's cabinet 1997.

The Right Honourable Tony Blair, MP
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service
The Right Honourable John Prescott, MP
Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions
The Right Honourable Gordon Brown, MP
Chancellor of the Exchequer
The Right Honourable Robin Cook, MP
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
The Right Honourable The Lord Irvine of Lairg
Lord Chancellor
The Right Honourable Jack Straw, MP
Secretary of State for the Home Department
The Right Honourable David Blunkett, MP
Secretary of State for Education and Employment
The Right Honourable Margaret Beckett, MP
President of the Board of Trade and Secretary of State for Trade and Industry
The Right Honourable Dr Jack Cunningham, MP
Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
The Right Honourable Donald Dewar, MP
Secretary of State for Scotland
The Right Honourable George Robertson, MP
Secretary of State for Defence
The Right Honourable Frank Dobson, MP
Secretary of State for Health
The Right Honourable Ann Taylor, MP
President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
The Right Honourable Chris Smith, MP
Secretary of State for National Heritage
The Right Honourable Harriet Harman, MP
Secretary of State for Social Security
The Right Honourable Dr Marjorie Mowlam, MP
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
The Right Honourable Ron Davies, MP
Secretary of State for Wales
The Right Honourable Clare Short, MP
Secretary of State for International Development
The Right Honourable The Lord Richard
Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Lords
The Right Honourable David Clark, MP
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
The Right Honourable Gavin Strang, MP
Minister of Transport
The Right Honourable Alistair Darling, MP
Chief Secretary to the Treasury

Now out of this lot only Brown and Darling are left who are Scottish, so did Gordon Brown oppose Scottish devolution? Seems a bit unlikely, but it's the most interesting of the possibilities, however, Darling himself represents Edinburgh South West and has a majority of about 7,000 as of the last general election and is a possible swing to the Conservatives if a bit unlikely unless and of course it turns out he opposed Scottish devolution and this was used in the campaign against him.
Only speculation I know, but as the English or Welsh candidates are either not in the cabinet anymore or would not be in danger from a nationalist backlash it makes sense to me, even if it's not true.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

What now for England?

Back in October the news broke that Labour had deliberately taken the decision to allow mass immigration into the UK, mostly into England to change the demographics and rub the "rights" noses in the joyful multicultural society that would bloom in the country.

Labour ministers deliberately encouraged mass immigration to diversify Britain over the past decade, a former Downing Street adviser has claimed.
Andrew Neather said the mass influx of migrant workers seen in recent years was not the result of a mistake or miscalculation but rather a policy the party preferred not to reveal to its core voters.
He said the strategy was intended to fill gaps in the labour market and make the UK more multicultural, at the same time as scoring political points against the Opposition.
Mr Neather worked as a speechwriter for Tony Blair and in the Home Office for Jack Straw and David Blunkett.
Well despite the government claims that immigration is now under control and that a points system is in place the following gems have come to light.

The proportion of the population that is foreign-born has almost doubled in the past two decades to 11 per cent, or 6.7 million people.
At the same time, almost a quarter of babies born in England and Wales had foreign mothers. This is also a record, according to the Office for National Statistics. The figures indicated that, in 2008, some 11 per cent of the population was born overseas, up from about 8 per cent in 2001 and 6.7 per cent in 1991.
Figures are not available for 1997 when Labour came to power but, based on trends, the figure is likely to have been just above 7 per cent.
A key factor has been the increase in migrant workers from Poland, Lithuania and six other eastern European countries that joined the EU in 2004.
The number of eastern European nationals resident in Britain has risen sharply from 114,000 in 2001 to 689,000 last year. More than a tenth are children.
According to the study by Jil Matheson, the national statistician, Britain’s population is on course to pass 70 million in about 20 years. She said projections based on past demographic trends suggest a 17 per cent increase in population over the next 25 years, to hit 71.6 million by 2033.
The public is being "terrorised" by the idea that the population will hit the 70 million mark, Home Secretary Alan Johnson said today.
Official figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggest the total UK population will increase by nearly nine million to hit 70 million by 2028.
But Mr Johnson said the figure was a "spectre" and pointed to earlier projections by the ONS that overestimated future population increases.
Even if it did reach the 70 million level, the country's infrastructure and public services would "cope", Mr Johnson said.
Speaking ahead of a debate on immigration with his Tory shadow Chris Grayling and Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne tonight, Mr Johnson said he did not think the debate around the 70 million figure was "sensible".
This was the same Alan Johnson who insisted he did not "lie awake at night" worrying about Britain's population reaching 70 million.
He also believes the countries infrastructure would cope, this is despite a massive government overspend and debt crisis which will see our children and grandchildren struggling to pay off the interest from this idiot governments largesse never mind the substance of the loan. We wont be able to afford to build the infrastructure, the EU is about to kill off the one sector of the UK economy that does work by legislating the City into unprofitability.
As for the English, well Labour (and previous governments) have destroyed the working ethic by making it much easier to do nothing and remain trapped on benefits particularly if you're at the bottom of the pile. Education has been wrecked, for all the triumphalism of the extra spending, literacy rates are down according to employers. British jobs for British workers was nothing of the sort, most of the jobs went to immigrants and they in turn sent the money they earned abroad. The various groups of immigrants who came to stay are allowed to keep their cultures and because of multiculturalism they don't have to integrate, they don't become English, they remain British, unlike in Scotland or Wales.
So we are fast becoming a divided society, multiculturalism instead of binding us into a cohesive whole has fractured the country of England, after all that which divides us hardly will unite us.

Something's going to give, the rise of extremism is already under way as people now feel threatened for both their lifestyles and their childrens lifestyles. The English have been successively marginalised and made to feel as if they are to blame if they question just what the hells going on. Question multiculturalism, immigration, religious intolerance, equality quotas etc and the cry from the righteous goes out of, racist, homophobe, Islamophobe, fascist and we're shouted down for wondering where our country went and why we're discriminated against for being white and English. Even our entry into the EU seeks to divide us further with regionalism and no-one under 52 can remember even being asked if we wanted to be in the EEC, never mind the EU, so we're disenfranchised that way too.
None of the "Big 3" political parties act as if they care, oh they spout the occasional platitudes and throw piddling sums of money in Labours case at their core support groups. But all of them are wedded to political correctness and a multicultural society, all of them seek to force the English to accept the inequality of equality on the governments terms.
Still the facade is cracking, I doubt the pressure from within can be ignored for too much longer, the rise of the BNP is but one factor in a low key seething anger at what's been done to us.
Perhaps an English parliament would help, someone needs to speak for England and it sure as hell isn't the Lib/Lab/Con pact.
Those of us who support the English cause, work hard, we promote, assist, lobby yet our voices are not heard, or if they are, then ignored. Support is growing though and the English have seen and learned from the success of the SNP.

But the question still has to be asked, is it too little too late?

Moderates? Give me a break!

Tory "moderates" attacked climate change sceptics today according to the Independent.
Tory moderates have attacked climate change sceptics as “flat-earthers” and urged David Cameron to show Churchillian leadership on the issue if he becomes prime minister.
The Tory Reform Group, the main body for “One Nation” Conservatives, warned that the world is “drinking in the last chance saloon”. It rallied behind Mr Cameron in his battle with Tory MPs, MEPs and grassroots members, many of whom are sceptical about climate change, as The Independent revealed last week.
And who might these moderates be?  Well they aren't really that moderate as they are all strident EUphiles and as the EU is madly in love with the idea of robbing us blind via "Green" taxation it's no surprise at all.
Kenneth Clarke, Tim Yeo and John Gummer are the ones behind the attack and trot out the same old lines that we can trust the scientists and the data, you know, the scientists that lied, refused to release data, tried to avoid FOI requests, blackballed colleagues who disagreed and attempted to destroy the peer review system for any who dissented. My do they make a matching set, save only that the politicians are marginally more corrupt.
The amazing thing is of course that the MSM will lap this up, it's how they want to see it (not how it is though) and any who doubt or deny the new Green God as David Davies (a true moderate and libertarian) did are derided and attacked in the MSM for daring to speak for the majority who smell a ripe green rat when they look at the cost of the environmental lunacy.
Well the Tory Reform Group are once again showing themselves to be as out of touch with the UK public as ever, Just a shame that David Cameron supports them.

"The TRG has contributed greatly to the Conservative Party over the last 30 years and is central to where we need to be in the future... your core beliefs in 'freedom, individual responsibility and community' matter now more than ever."
(Rt Hon. David Cameron MP, Summer 2009)

Wrong again Dave, wrong again.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Nice money for some.

Gordon Brown was trumpeting a £3 billion cut in government spending yesterday.

Brown outlined an extra 3 billion pounds in savings over four years through cutting advisory budgets and embracing new technologies such as the internet -- on top of 9 billion pounds of planned efficiencies announced earlier.
A drop in the ocean really as government spending is around about £622 billion and they continue to spend far more than they actually get in, which is why they continue to print money to cover it. This was done by throwing out a 165-year old law that obliged the Bank of England to publish a weekly account of its balance sheet, a move that will allowed it to embark  on quantitative easing.
Yet today it emerged that the government is to spend £3 billion on transport and hospitality for ministers and civil servants.

The Prime Minister warned yesterday that there is a “culture of excess” in the public sector and promised to curb the salaries paid to civil servants, quango chiefs, council leaders and BBC executives.
He announced that the Government had identified new savings which could be made in Whitehall costs worth £3 billion over the next four years.
However, it has now emerged that the Government has recently begun tendering for a new £3 billion travel and hospitality contract.
Official documents disclose that ministers expect to spend between £2 billion and £3 billion over the next four years for hospitality and travel for themselves and civil servants – spending the same amount as will be saved by the efficiency drive.
A separate contract is also being offered worth about £70 million to fly mandarins around Britain and the world. The contract covers those working for central Government excluding the Ministry of Defence and Foreign Office.
Why do I have the feeling that this will all be first class travel, staying in 5 star hotels and covering substantive expenses on meals and entertainment? I might be wrong of course, but the odds are that I'm not.
Public servants and that is what parliamentarians and senior civil servants are, have lost sight of the fact that we're in a recession (actually with their pay and perks they may not have noticed) To them it's just words and as long as it doesn't interfere with the gravy train well that's all right. I don't think that they're even trying to hide the excess anymore, they just don't care how it looks as they feel safe and secure in their jobs and come the next government it will be business as usual, different faces, same perks and a nice index linked pension on retirement. It's rumoured that ministers don't even really run their departments anymore, it's just too complex, by the time they have a handle on things they're moved on to something else.
This is why the country needs a libertarian style government, to remove the complexity of government, simplify things, move control of peoples lives back to the people. Let the people have control as scary as that might be for some and remove the over-control and wastage of the current system.
Don't expect it any time soon though, but it will come or the system will like the Soviet one collapse under its own weight.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Of course the Saudis would say that

Well the great, the not so great, the smelly and the tax em till they scream set gathered in Copenhagen today and the MSM were practically exploding with sycophancy. Even those who couldn't be there, the various Labour, Lib Dem and Green blogs were salivating and practically orgasming in their joy at the hope that their new religion would save the world.
Of course the matter of the CRU emails and data set came up and massive were the attempts to downplay their impact. The spokesweasel from the IPCC stating that their decisions were made on solid scientific fact from other sources not just the CRU and conveniently not mentioning that NASA one of their chief sources of data via the GISS was going to be sued for lying about their dataset too.

The matter of the Saudi opposition to the agreement was mentioned too, but fobbed off. Despite the Saudis saying climategate would have a huge impact on Copenhagen the BBC came up with the excuse that because the Saudis are an oil producing nation and would be affected financially by any global-warming climate change settlement "They would say that wouldn't they."

You know the whole thing is doomed though as Jonah Brown has stuck his oar in. His opinions were aired in the Guardians CIF I don't know who he quite hoped to convince though as the majority of commenter's there proceeded to  rip his views, arguments and facts to shreds, not just on global-warming climate change either, but on anything that he might have had a hand in (and there's quite a lot)

Anyway the good news is that anything Jonah has a hand in or supports is doomed to failure. Apart from that Copenhagen is going pretty much as I imagined it would. Dissent stifled, lies promoted, facts distorted, politicians trying to grab soundbite time and the usual parade of watermelons trying to tell us we have only 40 days to save the planet unless we cough up more cash as bribes to African chieftains and third world nations to ease their problems. Oh yes and the major driving force behind it all is the EU who are obsessed with getting more money out of our pockets.

Mad, bad and totally bollocks and still the possibility of it costing the average western citizen an arm and a leg to finance.

Tariq Ali says…
“Copenhagen may be the last chance to get communist ideals back onto the global stage.”
“Andrew Marr discusses the Enlightenment with Tzvetan Todorov, communism with Tariq Ali, Russian Art with Andrew Graham-Dixon and “The Second Sex” with Janine di Giovanni.”

16 minutes and 2 seconds in.

H/T Guido and friends.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The true price of Green energy

Statistics revealed recently that the excess winter death rate in the UK was 25,300 last year, a 49 per cent rise from the year before. Fuel costs have soared in the last 10 years, gas prices from 1.7p per kilowatt to 4p and electricity 8p per kilowatt hour to 13.9p. This is in spite of the fact that energy prices came down this year from 99p a therm in July 2008 for gas and £92 per megawatt hour for electricity in September 2008 to 42p a therm and £39 per megawatt hour respectively now.

The average price domestic consumers pay for a unit of gas has more than doubled between 1999 and 2009, while the cost of electricity to households has gone up by more than 70 per cent in the same period, the data shows.
This is despite a drop in wholesale prices over the last year.
Last year the number of households in fuel poverty rose from four million to 5.4 million, with one in five homes affected. And figures from the National Office of Statistics revealed recently that the excess winter death rate was 25,300 last year, a 49 per cent rise from the year before.
One of the main reasons for the price remaining high though is Green taxation.

Britons are paying more than £10 billion extra a year in green taxes than is required to cover the cost of Britain's "carbon footprint", research claims.
Using previous research into climate change, the report for the TaxPayers' Alliance estimated that covering the social cost of Britain's carbon emissions would have cost £11.7 billion in 2005.
But receipts from "green" taxes such as fuel duty, road tax and the climate change levy in the same year totalled £21.9 billion, according to the study.

This means that Britons paid £10.2 billion too much in green taxes that year - or £400 for each household in Britain.
It gets worse (probably)

Plans put forward by the Green Fiscal Commission (GFC), a Government-supported think tank, would see the tax on gas and electricity rise every year.
By 2020, the new levy would amount to 80 per cent of the cost of the average gas bill and 30 per cent of the average electricity bill.
The price of an average annual gas bill is £808 while the price of an average annual electricity bill is £445, according to the price comparison website
It means the tax on gas and electricity bills could reach £779.90 a year, more than 60 per cent of the current £1,239 annual dual fuel bill.
 They are taxing us into penury, if you're on a low income as a lot of pensioners are, if you're ill or sick and on benefits, this government might just have signed your death warrant! 25,300 people died because of the winter last year a 49% increase on the year before. The winters are getting colder and our idiot politicians are still playing the global warming climate change hand telling us it's going to get warmer.
The Tories will be no better, "Call me Dave" is sticking to his green plans too with his buy your own wind turbine scheme.

This is evil! This is government policy UK, brought to you by our wonderful troughing politicians, safe and secure in the knowledge that the energy crunch wont even touch them.

25,300 reasons not to vote for the big 3 or anyone in favour of the EU and its enviroloon tax grabbing carbon emission controls!